Monday, January 13, 2014

My History of Reading


My first writing piece this school year was about how I group up with reading. I found this essay to be fairly easy to write about because it's a topic that I'm fairly passionate for. Here it is:
My first distinct memory of reading is from when I was very young. I had a book called The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and it was my absolute favorite book at that time of my life. I would read it a couple times a week, and it would never get old. That’s when I got hooked on reading.
Everyone person that helped raise me encouraged reading as soon as I was born. All of my relatives would have books at their house just for my brother and I, since we were the first grandchildren and nephews in the family. My parents would bring us to the local library every Saturday for children’s reading time, we would get books instead of candy at Easter, and every relative would get us a book or two at Christmas. I didn’t realize how amazing my family was and how they affected my future in reading and in school.
My school would also have book orders a couple times a year, which I absolutely loved. They would give each kid a little magazine that had more books than you could imagine. I would bring it home and sit at the table with my parents and ask them how many books I could get, and we would sit there for the longest time just looking at books and choosing which ones I would get. Of course, right after those book orders there would be a book fair in our school library. I would ask my parents for some money, and I would go and get a couple of books that looked good. I would usually choose the longest ones, because I liked being able to be “in” a story for as long as possible. We all know how disappointing it is when you realize that a great book is over.
Every night my parents would let me choose a book for them to read to me. Eventually I had memorized a lot of the books, so they would only have to read the first couple of words on every page and I would “read” the rest. This actually made it take a little bit longer for me to learn how to read from home, because I would just say the words that I had memorized instead of actually reading them.
My brother and I had a bookshelf that was filled to the brim. I started reading all of the books that my brother told me were good. Once we had both read them my brother and I would always talk about the storyline and what we liked about the book with my grandmother, who loves reading just as much as we do. She then started suggesting books to us, like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings once we got a little bit older. We would often go on trips to the local bookstore and my grandmother would let us chose a couple of books for her to buy for us.
Once I got a little bit older and wanted to show my family how well I could read I decided to read The Mitten to my entire family on Christmas. This was really important to me because my family showed how much they supported reading at such a young age. After that I started reading more advanced books, like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This book and Hatchet really changed my life. It gave me ideas of things to do outside and just be a kid, and that’s also what got me interested in survival camps and primitive living.
Another book that really changed my view of life is the one that I read this summer, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It really showed me how I should just enjoy the moment and participate. If you don’t you won’t experience something to the fullest, and your life won’t be as interesting. People these days keep their faces behind their cameras and phones and don’t just look at the beauty of the moment that they’re actually living.
The biggest reason that I enjoy reading is that I can almost always find something in the story to relate to. I also like to imagine being physically in the story, because I start to understand different character’s feelings better. For example, in The Perks of Being a Wallflower Patrick is trying as hard as he can to hide his relationship with the quarterback of the high school football team, because he knows that they both would get their “behinds” kicked if anyone found out. I can understand why he’s doing this, because if I was in this same situation I would definitely feel the same way.
My writing career started a little bit later. In kindergarten the teacher would give us each a small book that was only pictures and would tell us to write about what we thought was going on. I loved doing this because my grandfather had a book that was only pictures, and he would have us make up a story about what was going on in the book. We would change the story every time, and when I got better at telling the story I would go into much more detail.
My favorite part about writing is the fact that I can literally write about anything I want. I love being able to write about my feelings in a way that isn’t obvious. For example, I can give different characters in a story traits that I have or feelings that I’ve felt, and nobody will ever know. By far my favorite story that I’ve written was from eighth grade. Everything that happened in the story was something that happened to me, but the events were all spread out between the characters. Every character put together became me.
A big part of my writing career has been my English 9 class. I really enjoyed writing to you last year in my daily journal, because I could express myself and not worry about people judging me or being graded. It feels great to write about my feelings and experiences and know that somebody is going to read it.
It really helps me when a teacher reads my essays or stories and writes feedback. That is a huge part of how I’ve improved, and I can always benefit from some constructive criticism. I always look forward to getting my essays back to see the comments, because I enjoy learning. I like to improve, because there’s always something that I can get better at. That’s why I enjoy reading and writing.

4 comments:

  1. I can relate to this piece of writing so much. I said very similar things in mine. When I was younger I memorized books that I read a lot too, my favorite was Hunny Bunny Funny Bunny. It's inspiring that you were able to enjoy books so much when you were younger. I thought that your voice was very strong in this piece. Do you still read and enjoy reading as much as you use to?

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  2. I had no idea you loved reading that much. I think that it's great your family encouraged you to read at such a young age. Having good memories of reading when you were younger is good too. Do you still have that bookshelf in your room filled to the brim with book? Also do you still enjoy reading?

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  3. Thank you very much for mentioning your family in this piece, Cooper! It was very important to us that you were exposed to as many books as possible, and the more we were able to read to you, the more time we spent together, which was a priority for me! It's so nice to see that it paid off! Love, your Mom

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  4. I love the comments exchange for Cooper's post about reading as a child, especially from his dear ole mother. I'm a mother too, of middle school age kids, and I can say that books and reading have been HUGE for them. They love books and reading and the stories and the various libraries we visited for story time through Mast Landing and now at Middle School. Good job, mom and dad! It really is a gift and it shapes you, Cooper, as a reader, writer and storyteller.

    The Hungry Caterpillar is one of the best because it has all the elements of a great first book. It's colorful, interactive, simple in concept, substantial - maybe even indestructible. It's also a good size for little hands and, of course, fun to put little fingers in as the worm eats his way through everything in his path!

    I've heard there's an amazing Eric Carle museum in Western MA: http://www.carlemuseum.org. If you're ever out that way or need an excuse for an adventure, I think it may be very worthwhile.

    In the meantime, embrace your passions and keep up the writing and explorations of writing. You're fortunate to realize how much reading and writing mean to you.

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